Friday, December 29, 2017

Review of Future Home of the Living God-Louise Erdrich

This dystopian novel by the acclaimed author will remind you of The Handmaid's Tale but with a Native American angle.  The world has gone into a future shock mode, with the environment out of control; normal childbirth is rare so the government captures women, especially pregnant women, to either breed them or monitor their pregnancy.  If the baby survives, the child is taken away and the mother impregnated to give birth again.  Cedar is just trying to survive capture in a world gone mad and safely have her baby, with the help of her adoptive, liberal parents and her Native American family.  Haunting.  4 Elves-Highly recommended for adults and mature teens

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Review of Jane, Unlimited-Kristin Cashore

I adored her Graceling Realm epic fantasies so I was curious to read her latest novel.  This book is a fantasy but not like any I've ever read.  When Jane loses her beloved Aunt Magnolia, she remembers that her aunt told her to never turn down an invitation to an island estate called Tu Reviens.  From the moment she lands on the island, her reality is turned upside down as she is offered five choices for her future.  The book is surprising throughout, especially the ending.  3 Elves - Recommended for mature teens and adults

Monday, December 4, 2017

Review of The Rules of Magic-Alice Hoffman

This prequel to Practical Magic is delightful.  Three siblings, witches all, are protected from magic by their mother; they are told to avoid black cats, red shoes, wearing black and walking in the moonlight.  But when they are forced to live with their aunt, all of the rules change and they are told to embrace their magic.  The only rule left is to not fall in love; because of the curse, it will end in tragedy.  Of course, avoiding love is easier said than done, and this novel follows the course of love for Franny, Jet & Vincent.  All of the characters are complex and wonderful, and you find yourself hoping that they can break the curse.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for mature teen and adults

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Review of Shadowcaster-Cinda Williams Chima

Cinda Williams Chima is one of my favorite epic fantasy authors.  I'm never disappointed in the worlds and characters she creates and I always look forward to her novels, whether a new book or a sequel.  Her latest in the Shattered Realms series continues the story of warrior Princes Alyssa and her struggle to help end the war that has raged her whole life, taking beloved family members and keeping her from living a life without strife & heartbreak.  When an enemy captain is captured, she wants to hate him but can't help but admire & desire him instead.  This book has everything: magic, a dragon and wonderful characters.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for teens and adults

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Review of Dragon's Green-Scarlett Thomas

This is the author's first novel for children and it is a winner.  As Effie Truelove's grandfather lay dying, he gives her a ring and tells her to look after his library.  When the library is sold, Effie discovers that the ring gives her magical powers (or enhances the ones she already has).  She find other objects in her grandfather's house as it's being sold and when she gives them to her friends, they also discover powers they didn't know they had. With her friends, Effie sets out to rescue the library.  The world and characters Thomas has created are magical and compelling; I look forward to the next book in the series.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for kids and adults

Monday, August 21, 2017

Review of The Apprentice Witch-James Nicol

Such a lovely book!  Reading this reminded me of how I felt when I first started reading the Harry Potter series.  Although the novel is not as complex (or long) as the books in that series, I'm hoping that the author will develop the characters and their world in future books.  Arianwyn has failed her first assessment and will not move on to be a full Witch, but is assigned to a small town as an Apprentice Witch.  Her new town is not completely boring, though; strange creatures, visitors and hexes start to plague the community.  Soon, Arianwyn's true talents start to shine and as she grows more confident in her magic, others start to notice (including her new friends). 4 Elves - Highly recommended for readers 7-12 and up

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Review of King's Cage-Victoria Aveyard

This is the third book in the Red queen series and the, I assume, final book in the series.  I must confess that I had a hard time finishing the book and put it down to read other books several times.  This book is so grim!  Mare Barrow, the lightning girl, is held prisoner by Maven Calore, who once loved her.  But, his love has turned into a torture as he manacles her with Silent Stone that not only dims her powers but is painful to the extreme.  He also humiliates her at every turn, even branding her, as she keeps hoping for rescue.  The final battle is thrilling but with great losses on both sides.  3 Elves - recommended for mature teens and adults

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Review of Legion-Julie Kagawa

This is the fourth book in the wonderful Talon series and although I thought this would be the last book in the series, the fifth and future last book, Inferno, will conclude the saga.  I will be sad to never read about these characters again; the author has created memorable, intelligent ,and courageous figures, both dragon and human.  In this book, we find out Talon's master plan, and it's a horrendous one.  They have evil plans for Ember and even worse for mankind.  Can a raggedy group of rogue dragons and soldiers of St. George unite, fight and win the war that is coming?  4 Elves - Highly recommended for mature teens and adults

Monday, May 1, 2017

Review of Strange the Dreamer-Laini Taylor

The book begins:"On the second Sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.  Her skin was blue, her blood was red."  Laini Taylor always writes fantasies with incredible imagery, and her latest book doesn't disappoint.  Her characters, Lazlo Strange and Sarai, are sympathetic, and you find yourself rooting for their forbidden love.  Waiting in anticipation for the sequel to this new series from the author of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.  4 Elves - Highly recommended for mature teens and adults

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Review of Dragonwatch-Brandon Mull

If you were disappointed to see the fifth and last book of Fablehaven, then you will rejoice with this sequel (the first of five books).  Back to the land of fairies, unicorns, trolls, goblins, wizards and, of course, dragons!  The dragons are getting restless and no longer want to be confined, so it's up to Kendra and Seth to keep them under control - not an easy task.  A thoroughly enjoyable book for young readers and adults.  4 Elves - highly recommended

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Review of Beauty of Darkness-Mary E. Pearson

This third and final book of the Remnant Chronicles is absolutely wonderful!  I had a hard time initially following the thread of the storyline; it had been a long time since I read the first two books.  Epic fantasies have complicated worlds, with creative places, languages and customs and this series has all of that.  But, the characters are so compelling that they carry you through the story.  4 Elves - Highly Recommended for teens and adults

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Review of A Shadow Bright & Burning-Jessica Cluess

A  very fast and thrilling read, I enjoyed all of the characters in this fantasy.  "The chosen one" is a female for a change, which is refreshing.  When an orphan, Henrietta, is discovered to have sorcerer powers (the first female in 100 years), she goes to London to train with other apprentice sorcerers to fight the Ancients, evil beings who are terrorizing the British Isles.  Because magicians opened the door to the evil ones and allowed them in, magicians are killed when discovered.  But is Henrietta really a sorcerer or a magician with sorcerer-like powers?  I'm awaiting the sequel in the Kingdom n Fire series... 3 Elves - Recommended for teens and adults

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Review of The Sun is Also a Star-Nicola Yoon

I loved her novel, Everything Everything, and this new book doesn't disappoint.  While it's not as shocking or unusual as Yoon's first book, her characters are compelling and the format creative.  Natasha is an undocumented Jamaican living in New York.  With time running out and her whole family due to be deported that night, she makes a trek to immigration authority to make one last plea for clemency.  Also on his way downtown for a college interview, Daniel, a Korean American, is reluctant to go to this appointment because he doesn't really want to go toYale and major in pre-med as his parents insist.  These two teens cross paths and although an unlikely romantic pair, they fall in love and try to change each other's destiny.  You will root for the science-obsessed Natasha and Daniel, the poet, as well as their families and characters they meet in passing.  5 Elves - Highly Recommended for teens and adults

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Review of Of Fire & Stars-Audrey Coulthurst

This is not your typical epic fantasy.  Denna goes to a neighboring kingdom to wed the prince and unite their kingdoms.  What the prince doesn't realize is that Denna has magic that she struggles to control; his kingdom punishes anyone suspected of having or using magic.  As Denna tries to keep her secret, she finds herself falling in love with the prince's sister who is engaged to another prince from another kingdom. As Denna tries to hide her magic and her love, an assassination brings the two women together as they try to figure out the murder suspects.  I'm looking forward to the sequel.  4 Elves - Recommended for teens and adults